Press Release

The Coalition for Deep Space Exploration Congratulates Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee on Approval of NASA Transition Authoriza

By SpaceRef Editor
September 21, 2016
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The Coalition for Deep Space Exploration (Coalition) applauds Chairman John Thune (R-SD), Ranking Member Bill Nelson (D-FL), Space Subcommittee Chairman Ted Cruz (R-TX), Ranking Member Gary Peters (D-MI) and the entire Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee on the approval of the NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2016 (S. 3346). The Coalition recognizes the tremendous effort of the Senators and their staffs in developing this bill, especially prioritizing its advancement during a challenging Congressional schedule. 

This authorization builds on the bipartisan 2010 NASA Authorization Act to ensure continuity of purpose for NASA’s core exploration programs: the Space Launch System (SLS), Orion and Exploration Ground Systems; the International Space Station (ISS) and its transportation services; and space science missions such as the James Webb Space Telescope, Mars 2020 and Europa. A key theme in the Senators’ statements and throughout the bill is the critical need to build on the substantial progress each program has made since the 2010 Authorization, and to ensure uninterrupted completion of these essential capabilities for America’s space program. The bill notes that the first integrated launch of the SLS and Orion is scheduled for 2018, and the first crewed mission beyond low Earth orbit in nearly 50 years is planned for 2021.

“The bipartisan Senate bill advanced by the committee today represents an important step toward updating the 2010 Authorization Act to reflect the significant progress that has been made on NASA’s core exploration and science missions,” said Dr. Mary Lynne Dittmar, the Coalition’s Executive Director. “As we head into the presidential transition and a new Congress, the bipartisan support demonstrated by the Committee reflects our nation’s commitment to a deep space exploration program that relies on these important national capabilities.”

The Coalition also notes that a number of Senators offered bipartisan amendments to strengthen the bill, including a measure by Senator Cory Garner (R-CO) to ensure NASA has authority to plan for annual Exploration Missions in the space around the Moon and moving out toward Mars. Several Senators made note that the authorized funding level for science programs in this bill is lower than proposed appropriations levels for FY 2017, and the Coalition remains supportive of full funding for NASA’s science missions. 

About the Coalition for Deep Space Exploration

The Coalition for Deep Space Exploration is a national organization of space industry businesses and advocacy groups focused on ensuring the United States remains a leader in space, science and technology. Based in Washington D.C., the Coalition engages in outreach and education reinforcing the value and benefits of human space exploration and space science with the public and our nation’s leaders, building lasting support for a long-term, sustainable, strategic direction for our nation’s space program.

SpaceRef staff editor.